Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cousins' Quilting Weekend

Not all my nieces were able to make it to the Cousins' weekend, but the five that did come were so task-oriented that we managed to have 12 of the 48x60 seek'n'find quilt tops completed before the last two left on Monday. I became known as the task master of the sweat shop, but it wasn't really me that was driven. Friday night we had dinner and then the 4 1/2 inch blocks were sorted into piles of 154 blocks. This was followed up by all the cousins sitting around roasting marshmallows and making s'mores. It was not a late night. Beds and airbeds were set up and everyone was in bed before 11:00.

After a reasonable bit of sleeping in, we had a breakfast of bran muffins, blueberry muffins, fruit, etc. Good food to keep the sewing slaves going for a whole morning of twosies, foursies, and eightsies! Four of the cousins had experienced some form of home ec during middle school, but that was a number of years ago. Once everyone started to feel comfortable the machines seemed to be humming at very respectable speeds. At times, it did feel like I might be the task master simply because everyone was so focused.

You learn a lot about people when they are quilting. Each of these girls has their own style. Jamie and Liz had already quilted with me so I knew their quirks, but I was surprised to find that the others, in the beginning, had a hard time with doing random piecing. Organizational levels varied, Brianna never had any squares out of place. It was impressive to see, but if you look in the backgrounds of many of the studio photos you will see I must not have inherited these genes.
I let each of the girls have a go at the HQ16 (midarm machine for quilting the quilts). Once again it was a study in quirks. Jamie has used it before and had even completed a larger quilt top that morning, but the others had never touched anything like it. All were very anxious, but that comes with a new experience. Emily and Brianna made it very clear that they had no need or desire to do more than the small section they tried on Porter's quilt. Erin, on the other hand, got the fever. The second quilt on the machine was anchored by me, and then she finished all but the last 5 inches. Then she declared, "I'm going to get me one of these." One the third quilt, Liz said she would start it saying she would do a little more. Then we rolled it to the next section and she thought she would do a little more. She finally admitted that she was more relaxed and was going to finish the whole thing herself.
Brianna had supplied us with the prerequisite rice krispie treats made with peanut butter, and chocolate and butterscotch morsels, and there was a bowl of jelly bellies on the table at all times. Despite the girls being fed and watered on a regular basis, I did hear a comment made to Kevin about how I had give the sweathouse workers a brief break of bread and water. I also know that there was a lot of texting concerning fingers and blood. I mentioned several times that they were welcome to take a break and do something else, but then I made a careless gesture that looked like I had cracked a whip.... We did break for supper. We went to Tommy Chicago's for pizza and were treated by Emily and Erin. YUMMMMM! Afterwards the girls ran to the grocery store and came back to sew more strips together (without prompting by me). Therefore, later in the evening, Emily lead them through some back cracking routines. (Did I mention that three of the five are pregnant?)

Sunday morning after church, we were treated to breakfast burritos prepared by Emily and Erin. Very tasty! Then it was back down to the family room for more sewing. They put together a total of ten quilt tops before the party started to break up. That is also when they quilted the 2nd and 3rd quilt tops. We ended with the taking of many photos on how one might use the quilts.
Emily and Erin did not leave until Monday, so they worked on a few more tasks. Emily put together two more tops and I taught Erin how to bind one of the three quilts that headed off to Texas with them. I finished up the other three tops on M
onday night. Quilting will be handled over the next couple of months.
Based on what I saw, I believe the girls had a great time that will be long remembered. I know that Kevin and I really enjoyed having them here. Hope we can do it again some time in the future!


  1. Wow, this is so neat!! I love how you put the pictures along with the story. Looks like everyone had so much fun!

  2. This weekend was a blast! Thanks for the fun, Robin :)

  3. Robin, I've been following your blog and it looks like the quilting weekend was tons of fun! So nice of you to open up your home and share your talents with your nieces!